productivity – the feel good approach

Execute - The Feel Good Approach to ProductivitySetting Goals, Defining Scope, Estimating and Planning. All of this is worthless if you don’t actually do the work, execute, produce, deliver, ‘ship.’

Productivity. There are libraries full of how to master it and web page after web page explaining how to get some more of it. I have nothing new to add to this conversation, but I will share what works for me.

I find myself jumping between two different mindsets and approaches to productivity: The feel good approach and the hard-ass approach.

It’s a sunny day today and I’m feelin’ good, so I’ll start with the feel good approach. The feel good approach is all about working naturally and realizing that ‘slow and steady wins the race.’ The feel good approach reminds you to (cue Stuart Smalley voice over):

  • Work with your natural rhythm; if you’re most productive in the morning schedule you’re important work then.
  • Don’t overload yourself. Realize what you can realistically accomplish and don’t plan any more.
  • Work on your most important tasks first, if the rest doesn’t get done, come back to it later.
  • Tell yourself you’re just going to work for ten minutes, you’ll usually work longer, but if not that’s okay, too.
  • Remember sometimes you can just get one thing done a day that moves your business forward, and that’s…okay.

Use the feel good approach when your reserves are low and you need to gently prod yourself to your sewing machine, your laptop, or whatever item is the tool of your trade.

Next time we’ll take a look at the hard ass approach, so grab your helmets and strap on your seat belts.

11 thoughts on “productivity – the feel good approach

  1. @Tangerine Dreams – I am a big time Stuart Smalley fan, and am patiently waiting for the day when Al Franken breaks into a Stuart Smalley voice on the Senate floor!

    @Sarah, the automated kicking-machine is in the next post about the ‘hard-ass approach’ 😉

  2. I concur with Tangerine Dreams with the Stuart Smalley pic -what’s better? – I actually could hear his voice relaying those pertinent bullet points!

    With my shop’s grand opening for this Saturday looming over me, I was able to laugh at the many delays and derails I experienced in this past two weeks – and there were plenty!

    I would not have been able to laugh, let alone forge ahead and keep my head up smiling, albeit at a slower pace, had it not been for the sage wisdom that continues to comes forth from this amazing site and it’s incredibly talented readers’ comments.

    Brava I say, Bravissima! Grazie por todo!

  3. Doing the most important thing first is so key! It’s so tempting to do all the easy/fast things on my list instead – and before you know it, half the day (or all of the day, hahaa) is gone. Doing the big/important/thing-you’ve-been-avoiding FIRST, you start out the day already feeling productive.

    Another piece I’ve been struggling with is actually having a realistic to-do list for the day. As small business owners, we have million-item lists and sometimes (ok, all the time) it can feel overwhelming. I’ve been trying a new method of just picking the top 5 items to complete today. Once I complete those, I pick the next 5. This helps me keep my brain from going crazy on me :)

    1. I struggle with this creating realistic to do lists too, a big part of it for me is trying to manage my ambitions and just having one or two ‘big’ things scheduled per day…

  4. I have just consciously started my ‘to do’ list with the most important first instead of all the quick and easy jobs……see how I go but it is great to be reminded again, so thanks xoxo Jo

  5. I find that i have to use a planner to keep me organized. I make up my to do list the evening before so I don’t have to fool around figuring what tasts need to be done first. I find it SO satisfying to cross something off the list, especially if it’s something I was dreading!

  6. Thanks for making me smile this morning with the Stuart Smalley art!

    I have two to-do lists – one for the day, with definitive items, and one running list of anything and everything. That way, what I need to do for the day never seems overwhelming, and on the days when I have extra time I can look ahead to what needs to be done and begin to at least think about those items, if not actually knock some of them off the list, too.

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